First Posted: 1/12/2009
This past weekend, my parents were supposed to get a new puppy. The little bundle of energy, a yellow pointing lab to be named Samantha or Sam for short, was born in Nebraska and therefore was being flown to Raleigh.
After weeks of careful planning, the delivery date was set for Jan. 11 at 12:59 p.m. The weather on Sunday was perfect, a little overcast and around 59 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at 12:45 p.m. Even though the cargo area on the plane is pressurized, cold was still a concern for an 8-week-old puppy and 59 degrees was about the best we could hope for.
Now, to understand the rest of this line of thought, you may need a little back story. Several weeks ago, my dad decided that what he and my mom needed was a new puppy. They have two dogs, a German shorthair and a mutt, but they arent puppies any more. He decided that if he got a lab, he could start training and raising them as bird dogs. He also decided that since there are no pointing lab kennels on the east coast, he could take over that market and bring the pointing lab back.
He therefore turned to the Internet to begin his search. He found a couple of kennels he liked and eventually settled on the one in Nebraska. One of the dogs had just had a litter and not all of them had been spoken for. He and the owner have been e-mailing and calling back and forth since then.
Everyone was excited about the arrival of the puppy in January. For Christmas, my dad got a collar and matching leash as well as a chew toy. My stocking even contained a bright orange hunting collar, an ironic scenario since I a – dont hunt, and b – even if I did I probably dont have good enough aim to actually hit a bird (something about the whole you have to shoot where the bird is going to be concept).
In anticipation of the arrival of the puppy, I drove the two hours home Saturday night so I could ride to the airport the next morning. When the phone rang at 6 a.m. on Sunday, we of course imagined the worst. There had been an accident, the puppy was dead or seriously injured, something horrible had happened. Much to our relief, this was not the case. However, I am not sure the airline personnel in Nebraska were quite as relieved.
As it turns out, in order for a puppy to fly in 40 degree weather, which is what it was in Nebraska, the vet has to specifically mention it in the paperwork, checking a box or initialing a line or some absurdity. This would not have been an issue had the airline, which shall remain unnamed as I still occasionally like to fly, bothered to mention this regulation when the plans were made to ship the puppy in the first place. Obviously they did not mention it, and since they are the only airline to require this extra bit of paperwork and have only begun to do so in the last year, the owner was unaware.
From the sounds of the conversations that took place, the airline personnel barely made it out of the encounter alive after dealing with an angry owner and a puppy who had been shoved in a crate and driven an hour to the airport only to be put back in the car and driven an hour back home. My dad was also in a bit of an unpleasant mood, blaming the airline, not the owner.
So, instead of arriving on Sunday at 12:49 p.m., Sam will arrive tonight around 6 p.m. Because of the change of plans, the weather is no longer cooperating. It will be 11 degrees in Nebraska Tuesday morning and if it reaches 10 degrees, they will not ship the puppy even with the appropriate paperwork. The high in Raleigh is predicted to be 51 degrees with the temperature dropping to 43 by 6 p.m. Not to mention, there is a chance of rain.
Now, with all of this negativity, there is a small silver lining. On the way to the airport we were planning to stop at Bob Evans Restaurant for breakfast, a favorite pastime of mine. Even though the puppy was not arriving, we still made the drive to Durham to Bob Evans. I still got my country biscuit breakfast and coffee, which I have been thinking about for the past two months. While a breakfast may not seem worth a six hour drive, I think it almost was. As you know, there is no Bob Evans in the area and after years of having one close by and eating there almost every Sunday, I was experiencing a bit of withdrawal.
Morgan Wall is a staff reporter at The Mount Airy News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 719-1929.